A Look Back at 11 Crazy-Great Holiday TV Moments
T'was the night(s) before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring 'cept you and your mouse. Click, click, click to these 11 merry moments of TV Christmas specials past -- some classic, some bizarre -- preserved online and ready to be rediscovered on YouTube and Hulu.
The Star Wars Holiday Special
1. Dragnet, 1967. Detectives Friday and Gannon are on the case of a missing Baby Jesus stolen from a church crèche. The altar boys, including one played by a pre-Brady Bunch Barry Williams, have solid alibis. Pawn shops are notified. "We had a man to find," says the always terse Joe Friday (Jack Webb, who also produced and directed the show). "Our only clue: He'd been to church."
2. In a 1964 Christmas season installment of ABC's Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, a young, Bieber-esque (but way better) Ricky Nelson ends the episode singing Mel Torme's "Christmas Song" as his then real-life wife Kristin and baby daughter Tracy look on from the sofa. Hard to believe Ricky would've been 71 this year. He died New Year's Eve, 1985, in a plane crash on his way to a show in Dallas. Wow, was he ever a beautiful kid.
3. It is unusual to find Tom Jones singing an admirably un-cheesy "Good King Wenceslas" in this early 1980s TV special.
4. Bet you've never seen or don't remember the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special starring the whole cast, including the 'bots. Here, Carrie Fisher, in full Princess Leia drag, sings "Happy Life Day," a song that suggests that in the galaxy far, far away, there is no Christmas but only a generic, Scientology-like celebration of light and dark.
5. The 1964 CBS special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is still shown on TV every year. In case you've forgotten, that's folksinger and actor Burl Ives as the Claymation snowman. Here he sings "Silver and Gold" by the show's composer, Johnny Marks. Note that the snowman strums a banjo, though not a twang of banjo playing is heard in the music.